Posts Tagged Cricket Australia

Test Cricket should have seprate exclusive operations

As I write this piece, we have witnessed two recent test matches, that prove that when the contest between bat and ball is balanced; test cricket is the most pure form of cricketainment. So the big question, what has the apex body of world cricket ICC and its constituent national bodies, done to promote and propagate the oldest and purest form of cricket forward on the path of growth?. The answer sadly is nothing! All you find is wise administrators making the politically correct statement – test cricket is priority (sic). If test cricket was priority then why is the world championship of tests, postponed for another era!

My assumption is that the czars of cricket administration have never had the confidence that test cricket on its own steam can be a commercially successful product. Their inference is that test cricket is something that is important emotionally , but needs to be compensated by limited overs cricket to survive. The above scenario may not be true for countries like Australia and England, where test cricket still is big. However the financial fulcrum of world cricket , India and its constituent apex body BCCI, operate the test format on low priority. This is what ails test cricket’s growth and needs to be addressed with immediate effect.

I believe that the recent two tests , one featuring australia and south africa and other involving West Indies and India, have been eye openers. If wickets are sporting, the balance of the battle between bat and ball is maintained, we will get entertaining close encounters resulting in high spectator turnout and coinciding higher TV audiences.

If test cricket has to prosper then it should be a stand alone entity, commercially and more importantly in terms of operations. What this would do is remove the complacency from the present set up of cricket administrators , especially from India. There is no doubt in my mind that the present day revenues of Indian cricket establishment comes from IPL and ODIs; the BCCI mandarins treat tests as a honorary format that they need to compensate. There is no sense of initiative or focus as they generate revenue for the tests from the broadcaster, who too treat tests as a necessary evil they need to broadcast, while the bread and butter lies in the shorter formats. The same results in no initiative or mandate to produce sporting wickets, which is imperative to produce a good test cricket product. The present mentality involving test cricket in India, is to produce batting strips that would convert into spinning wonders, day 3 onward – resulting in a win for Indian expected to leave all satisfied. This is far from the truth and certainly not what the average fan wants- he wants a great competitive contest, with of course the emotive rider of India doing well! The proof of the same lies in the significantly higher interest generated in the 3rd test that India drew as compared to the first two tests of the series that India won!

Test cricket fans have to be more vocal in their demands for competitive test match cricket. For the format to take precedence over every other format, it is important for the connoisseur of test cricket to express the need to see competitive test matches. Their voice has to be heard by the top cricket administrators of the world, especially those in India, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. And this is only possible when test cricket lovers are not apologetic anymore of their preference and show their strength in terms of numbers . The basis of my write up lies in my belief that the base of test cricket supporters in especially the top 8 test cricket nations of the world, is large enough to play a significant voice in world cricket.

For test cricket to survive and exhibit itself at its best; is to be played on sporting wickets and run pro-actively as an independent operating body. It definitely does not deserve to operate as a subsidized product of the shorter format of the game,. Test cricket connoisseurs have to believe that the format has a big enough fan base to economically survive and prosper on its own. The same can be achieved only when. a separate body is made accountable for test cricket,its growth and success; much like how you have a separate IPL governing council.

What a separate body to govern the longer format of the game also will do is , it will prioritize domestic cricket structures in top nations like India. Look at the interest level amongst the general public for our Ranji trophy structure. Rather than a first class competition, it has languished as a upcoming cricketers development league. That is unfortunate if one considers its glorious past and stories of epic battles fought in its rich history. A separate body would imperatively allocate resources and focus in the promotion of the tournament, as it would the base of the longer format( international test cricket). Similar to what IPL governing council does for T20. More importantly it would be free from distraction of. Having to organize the shorter formats of cricket!

As always my views are based on personal assumptions and gut feelings. I would as always, love to get your feedback along with contrary views, to comprehend the topic better.

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Cricketers -From Gentlemen to Beautiful-Men

The game of cricket sits at the cusp of changing from a lazy colonial type, day long sport…. to a modern day high octane commercially driven sport.  Like transition phases in other sectors of life and society; cricket too will see a difficult turnaround period (presently faced). Despite the present day turmoil, I am confident that commercially interest, humongous support & consumer base will see the game through; well into the next decade. The final analysis of the story however is that cricket will follow the football way. The gentleman’s game will take a step forward (hope it turns that way instead of regressive commercialization) to coming close to the beautiful game. I know I may disappoint cricket connoisseurs and a large fan base with the future trajectory the game of cricket we all love so much. But that is another topic altogether. Through this article my aim is to draw a parallel between these two wonderful games and see how the new cricketing world would look; when club and franchisee take precedence over boards and bilateral cricket series. I personally believe that the international test cricket itinerary should confine to an Ashes series and a Asian test championship between Indian, Pakistan and Sri Lanka. If Bangladesh progress in the skills department they would be the fourth inclusion in the Asian test championship. South Africa, New Zealand, West Indies will have to find a market of their own. I feel sorry for South Africa as it is a strong test nation but the only solution for the protease, kiwis and Caribbean cricket centers would be to fall back upon their colonial motherland England and look for a series called a Greater Ashes; where they can fight for the Holy Grail along with England and Australia. I believe that the players of the near future will be freelance cricketers. Their agents will manage their careers. Official cricket boards like old world institutions will perish and will pass on the power to franchisees and the corporate world. Majority cricket will involve club cricket ( read IPL, ICL, T20 offshoots in other cricket nations) and will be played in the T20 format. The cricket world in the next three years will look similar to the present day soccer world.

Below are my “cricket- soccer” parallels. I look forward to your feedback and would love to know what you the true aficionado and expert of the game feel about the same

 

  1. India – the financial power center of world cricket -will look similar to present day England in the soccer world.
  2. Australia- The most talented cricket land. Similar to what Brazil is to the soccer World.
  3. Pakistan- Mercurial and unpredictable and will produce logic defying world class talents. Similar to Argentina in Soccer.
  4. South Africa. Clinical, methodological and an assembly line of top notch players. Similar to Germany in Soccer.
  5. Sri- Lanka. Enterprising, rich history and effervescent talent. Close geographical location to India makes them parallel to Spain in soccer. Sri Lanka has the opportunity to tap the resources of ICL& Ten Sports (Zee group) to form a parallel cricket’s Premiere le ga. Why Sri- Lanka? Also because of the new found peace and geo political situation in the beautiful island country.
  6. New Zealand. Parallel in soccer is a top notch eastern European country (Czech- republic, Serbia, Croatia- lacking flair but producing an assembly line of disciplined sportsmen of international level.
  7. England – the mother nation of cricket. Soccer parallel reads Italy. The English county will be the Seria-A of Cricket. Never quite achieving the dynamism of IPL (EPL-English premiere league) or ICL (Premiere le liga – Spanish soccer)
  8. West Indies. Their parallel will be South American or African football nations like Mexico, Nigeria, Cameroon or Colombia. Natural flair and aggressive players.

 

So how does the future of the cricketing world look to you? Look forward to your comments. The only sad part it is the obituary of the most powerful brand of world cricket “team India “& “Men in blue”. Don’t know however if I would miss the dinosaurs BCCI!!!!!!

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Chennai the new nerve centre of T20 cricket in India.

The mushrooming of league cricket in India especially the Indian Sub continent in form of the ICL & IPL brings new dynamics the game is perceived and viewed by the fans.

Till now serious cricket was confined to only international matches or domestic competitions. Most other formats that were tried in form of super sixes tournaments or super 8s was confined to purely off-season entertainment cricket, therefore restricting the growth of cricket.

To its credit the ICL pioneered the city based format and stressed on the game being played with utmost seriousness by its players. The fact that they created 8 competitive sides with the right mix of domestic and international talent saw to it that level of cricket was at par with International standards.

One of the surprises emerging out of the league format of cricket is the dominance of Chennai across both leagues.

A UK based company (cricket 20.com), which has carried out a comprehensive study on all domestic cricket competitions across the globe has thrown up a few revelations.

And surprise-surprise, the two Chennai teams Chennai Super kings (IPL) and Chennai Superstars (ICL) stand in 5th and 6th position respectively in the top 10 world rankings for T20 teams around the world.

So does this mean a change in order as far as the nursery of Indian cricket is concerned; a shift from Mumbai to Chennai? I guess it would need more than year one to answer the question.

One glaring fact about both the Chennai teams is in the heavy Australian influence on both the teams. The Superstars has Michel Bevan (Coach) & Stuart Law (Captain) at the helm of affairs. On the other hand it is Kepler Wessels (former Australian& South African player, coach) & MS Dhoni (probably the most valuable player in India) at the helm of affairs.

The calming influence that Dhoni brings at the helm of the national team is what one of ICL’s main find R Sathish brings to the Chennai superstars stable, as deputy captain & captain of ICL-India.

While it has been a masterstroke by both Chennai teams to inculcate the Australian way of cricket into their respective city teams; the domestic players from both sides; Vignesh, Badani, Syed & Kumaran ( ICL ) & Ghoni, Balaji, Bhadrinath ( IPL) have raise their hand to be counted as proven performers at the big stage.

I guess the jury is out, the Chennai sides in both leagues have cracked the T20 code and set the bar in terms of performance level & success achieved, now it is for the other cities to follow suit.

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